The First Steps Are Always The Smallest

Children learning to walk, are made to take the smallest steps possible first. This is to embed balance into the sub-conscious. A person who has walked small steps, can always increase his stride. But a person who has been taught to walk in huge strides, will find it difficult to constrain his feet. That’s because, sometimes growth is easier than restraint.

I studied my First Standard in a school in T. Nagar, Chennai(Madras then, and Madras always for old-timers). Its a pity though, that I don’t remember the name of my first school(I think it was Bala Sankara Vidyalaya, or something to that effect).

It was a Tamil medium school, and I was all at sea, being one of the only two telugu-speaking students. The other was a girl named Sirisha(well you can her my first girlfriend, if you want to), whose parents had just been transferred to Chennai.

To begin with, she was a GEM of a person, and had a smile that could kill(pleasantly I mean, she also had a very cute dimple). Not only did she, at the age six, and within 3 months of coming to Chennai, manage to learn Tamil, she would also act as a referee everytime I got into a fistfight with somebody in the class teasing me in Tamil(and that was almost daily, was never much popular back then, like a cowboy in Rome).

We both lived in the same apartment complex, and I would go to her house to play and study(yes I used to do it a lot more often then), and she would very rarely come to my house(usually only when some actor or actress was visiting, Chennai was the hub of even Tollywood then, and my family was very much active in production in those days).

I must have been the only guy, who didn’t understand a word the teachers rambled and who didn’t even know how to write my name on the answersheet(in Tamil of course). I flunked in every possible test except the final exam, where the unexpected happened. I was sitting, back in the habit, of staring at the ceiling, although this time it was because I didn’t know what and how to write. Then I felt somebody scratching my arm, I turned and found Sirisha, handing me her paper, telling me anyway you don’t know how to write, take this. I told her, no maam will find out and besides, her handwriting would be the same. She told me “don’t worry, just take this, submit it, and get out of here”. I just got up, gave the paper, and left. The look on the teacher’s face was unmistakable shock(or rather undisguised). She must have been stunned that a guy like me, who never wrote, spoke, or understood Tamil, would submit the paper within half the time alloted(atleast I would have been stunned if I was her, come to think of it, being what I am, I would have suspected foulplay).

Later, in the evening, she told me, that she hadn’t thought about the handwriting part, when she had offered her paper to me(good old girls, never get any criminal thoughts like me), so when I had pointed it out to her, she didn’t know what to do, and wrote her entire exam in lefthand. To this day, I don’t know what happened(I mean, did I pass, did she pass, did any of pass, did both of us pass). All I know is, I never saw my marks card, else I would atleast know the school name.


I shifted to Sri Sathya Sai Primary School, Puttaparthi after that. During my Second Standard holidays, I wanted to meet her and was told they had shifted to another apartment block down the lane. I managed to force my cousin sister to escort me to her home. I still remember, the walk to her house, I, almost sprinting down the road, and my cousin reluctantly tagging along(of course, I had to keep waiting for her, because she knew the address and I didn’t). Once we went in, I learnt, that she had shifted, to Padma Sheshadri School(it was THE school at that time, and frankly in some ways it still is). I was happy someone with her talent was studying in a place that could help her utilise those abilities.

I remember being tight-lipped during the entire evening, and my cousin, more out of embarassment, was constantly trying to keep the conversation going(it was me who dragged her there, and I wasn’t talking and she was forced to speak out of courtesy). Well it wasn’t my fault entirely(I had joined a school, where we were FORBIDDEN to converse with girls(sisters as they were to be called), although not explicitly but in a more implied way). That day was the last, I ever saw of her(and her smile and dimple).


To this day I wonder, where she is, and what she would be doing. Hope I never find out, because if it is something unpleasant(like being a housewife or something, I would rather not know, than feel bad).

For all you sue-happy people, I dont mean to call ‘being a housewife’ as degrading or insulting, it is just my personal opinion that, someone with her skills and talent should have been something more.

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